Night and Day: Wednesday, March 20, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Objects of Beauty

Sayat Nova led what you might call an interesting life. Born Haroutiun Sayadian in 1712 near what is now Tbilisi, he came from a peasant family and was apprenticed to a weaver, but he became famous for his singing and playing of the violin-like kemenche. His songs of courtly and erotic love earned him the title “Sayat Nova” (“King of Songs”), and got him appointed as court musician to King Heracle II of Georgia. He was doing more than writing songs there — he became a powerful royal advisor, but when he fell in love with the king’s sister, the monarch forced him out rather than accept him as a family member and potential rival. He was murdered at the age of 83 by Persian invaders when he refused to give up his religious faith.

These events would make for a rip-roaring film, but the movie that bears his name, Sayat Nova (known by its English title, The Colour of Pomegranates), only alludes obliquely to them. Instead, director Sergei Paradjanov wanted his film to be “a depiction of the poet’s soul.” The result is a plotless, dialogue-free, music-free 80-minute parade of symbolism-laden images. Paradjanov was almost as interesting as his subject — an Armenian (his real last name was Paradjanian) and a flamboyant homosexual who spent 10 years in a Soviet gulag on a trumped-up treason charge. Some find the film maddening, but there’s a certain logic to the progression of images (though this Westerner couldn’t begin to explain it), and the pictures themselves are quite beautiful.

Sayat Nova (The Colour of Pomegranates) screens at 8pm Wed at TCU, Sid Richardson Bldg, 2800 S University Dr, FW. Admission is free. Call 817-257-7610.


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